ISIS committed genocide against Yazidis, says Holocaust Memorial report

Yazidi refugee women stand behind a banner as they wait for the arrival of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie at a Syrian and Iraqi refugee camp in the southern Turkish town of Midyat in Mardin province, Turkey, on June 20, 2015.Reuters

ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in Northern Iraq and carried out crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing against other minorities, according to a report by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Significantly, crimes continue against many women and children who are still being held by ISIS.

"We found that IS committed mass atrocities to control, expel, and exterminate ethnic and religious minorities in areas it seized," the report said.

ISIS has been open and explicit about its intentions to destroy and remove members of ethnics and religious groups that it considers unworthy. The group has mainly targeted Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaen-Mandaean and Kaka'i people in the Nineveh province between June and August 2014, according to the report from the museum's Simon-Skjodt Centre for the Prevention of Genocide.

"We believe Islamic State has been and is perpetrating genocide against the Yazidi people," the report said.

"Islamic State's stated intent and patterns of violence against Shia Shabak and Shia Turkmen also raise concerns about the commission and risk of genocide against these groups."

The report heard the harrowing accounts of "of displacement, forced religious conversion, rape, torture, kidnapping, and murder."

In September 2015, the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide sponsored a Bearing Witness trip to northern Iraq to examine the nature of these atrocities.

"We saw first-hand the consequences of mass displacement and the atrocities that had been perpetrated.

"We saw the angst born from the uprooting of religious practices, the erosion of cultural identity, and the tearing apart of communities and families.

The sense of despair was apparent; one man said, "We have no future. Our generation is gone."